KEITH Hill has pledged to restore Wanderers’ reputation as a family club.

Life at the University of Bolton Stadium started to return to something like normality this week as new owners and management settled in and work began repairing some of the damage which had been caused by several months of financial hardship and administration.

The new boss officially met the club’s staff and players for the first time on Wednesday and, speaking to The Bolton News, is keen to reward the loyalty they have shown this year in difficult circumstances.

“They are good people, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “They love their club and that is why they stayed. They believe in it and it has been hard but there’s a new feeling of optimism now.

“There are smiles again, not worry, and we want to tap into that. We want to thank the staff here for holding this club together and making sure the ship didn’t go down.”

The build-up begins to Hill and David Flitcroft’s first league game in charge at Rotherham United next weekend, and the first step towards what the manager insists is not an impossible dash for survival.

He admits, however, the players and management will need help if they are to be successful – and is looking to foster a team effort behind the scenes.

“The staff were there for the club in their hour of need – and that’s what families do,” he said.

“I’m a big believer in bringing everyone in together. It’s them and us. We want to make sure this stays a family club and then reward the people who stuck by it by what we do out there on the pitch.

“What we do as a football team, what I do as a football manager, represents our family and the community.”

Hill is keen to shift the focus away from the league table, for now, and concentrate solely on integrating the nine signings he made on deadline day.

“There is nothing minus about this football club,” he said. “We are on the rise. Our task is to build this team on the training ground into one that can get the job done.”